Apple and T-Mobile are teaming up to provide California students with up to one million iPads, says a press release from the California Department of Education.
As planning for the school year and the inevitable distance learning takes shape, Apple and T-Mobile will fulfill orders directly from districts, offering significant discounts in addition to standard education volume pricing.
“As schools are working around the clock to prepare students and families for virtual learning, I want to commend Apple and T-Mobile for stepping up in a monumental way to support California’s neediest students,” said State Superintendent Tony Thurmond. “As Californians, we have a shared commitment to ensure every student has access to the basic tools needed to connect to their learning, succeed in today’s world, and pursue their dreams. This commitment provides schools across the state a unique chance to put devices in the hands of students now, while potentially making longer-term investments that can help us remove these inequities once and for all.”
The global COVID-19 pandemic is forcing up to approximately 97% od California students to resume their education via distance learning. Unfortunately, many schools are experiencing a shortage of devices to pull off distance learning.
Since April, the State Superintendent and his Closing the Digital Divide Task Force—in collaboration with the Governor’s Office, state lawmakers, and nonprofits such as the Californians Dedicated to Education Foundation—have been working to accommodate students in need by working with internet service providers, tech companies, device manufacturers, and others to increase access to devices and internet connections.
Apple’s Professional Learning team is supporting educators and will be providing weekly virtual training sessions for California teachers, offering creative strategies for learning remotely. Apple also offers one-to-one virtual coaching sessions and teachers can gain foundational technology skills through the Apple Teacher Learning Center, available at no cost. Since March, Apple has led more than 150 thousand educator coaching sessions worldwide.
“At Apple, we believe technology has the power to transform the learning experience for students at all levels,” said Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Markets, Apps, and Services. “We are proud the State of California has chosen iPad to facilitate remote learning, and during these challenging times we look forward to working with administrators and school districts across the state to help make learning more accessible for their students.”
T-Mobile has accelerated its efforts to help close the digital divide, connecting hundreds of thousands of kids for virtual learning in over 300 school districts nationwide.
“Education is the great leveler in our society but only if everyone can access it. The pandemic has exposed just how widespread and detrimental the digital divide really is for millions of children in this country. At T-Mobile, we’re committed to doing something about it, and we’re incredibly proud to partner with Apple to help the State of California connect up to a million students when they need it most,” said Mike Katz, EVP of T-Mobile for Business.
Apple and T-Mobile expect to be able to fulfill school district demand through the end of 2020.